Space Environmental Testing of PEEK and PFA sample (ExHAM-PEEK) - 02.28.18

Overview | Description | Applications | Operations | Results | Publications | Imagery

ISS Science for Everyone

Science Objectives for Everyone
Spacecraft wiring and tubing must be able to withstand the extreme temperature fluctuations and radiation hazards of space, but the harsh environment of space can degrade these materials, potentially causing damage. Exposed Experiment Handrail Attachment Mechanism-polyetheretherketone (ExHAM-PEEK) tests two spacecraft wiring and tubing materials, polyetheretherketone (PEEK) and perfluoroalkoxy alkane (PFA), to study the environment’s long-term effects on their performance.
Science Results for Everyone
Initiation of this investigation has been affected by the loss of the Orbital-3 launch vehicle and mission in October 2014.

The following content was provided by Hidenori Furuta, and is maintained in a database by the ISS Program Science Office.
Information provided courtesy of the Japan Aerospace and Exploration Agency (JAXA).
Experiment Details

OpNom: Plastic Exposure Sample

Principal Investigator(s)
Hidenori Furuta, JAXA, Japan

Shinsuke Kitazawa, Junkosha Inc, Japan

Junkosha Inc., Fuefuki City, Japan

Sponsoring Space Agency
Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)

Sponsoring Organization
Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency

Research Benefits
Space Exploration, Scientific Discovery

ISS Expedition Duration
September 2014 - March 2015; September 2015 - March 2016; -

Expeditions Assigned

Previous Missions
Information Pending

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Experiment Description

Research Overview

PEEK and PFA are used in spacecraft for wire insulators and tubing materials, because they are lightweight and easy to process. However, the degradation data of the PEEK and PFA after exposure to the space environment for long periods of time cannot be obtained in ground experiments. Therefore understanding the process of degradation for PEEK and PFA are very important to understand the process of their structural degradation.
  • PEEK and PFA are exposed over a long time period by using the JEM-EF external facility.
  • The experiment results contribute to the development of space functional thin film devices for a variety of applications, including spacecraft and satellite operations.

Information Pending

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Space Applications
PEEK and PFA are used in spacecraft because they are lightweight and easy to manufacture, but their ability to withstand the temperature and radiation extremes of space cannot be studied on the ground. This investigation exposes PEEK and PFA samples to the exterior of the International Space Station (ISS) to study whether they degrade in space. Results from this investigation contribute to development of improved wire insulators and tubing materials for spacecraft and satellites.

Earth Applications
PEEK and PFA are commonly used on Earth in a variety of industrial applications. PFA is used to distribute and store harsh chemicals, and PEEK is used to replace any metal materials to transport liquid. Understanding how the materials degrade in harsh environments benefits users in the medical, chemical and industrial industries who use these products in a wide range of settings.

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Operational Requirements and Protocols
Information Pending

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Decadal Survey Recommendations

Information Pending

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Results/More Information

Information Pending

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Related Websites

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